Blog: #RaceEquityMonth – Promoting Health Equity in Podiatry

24 November 2023

A guest blog from Monique Cleary, Podiatry Student at University of Southampton and founder of the Podiatry Inclusive Image Collection (PIIC).

Innovation does not always have to be revolutionary, and this is the case for the Podiatry Inclusive Image Collection (PIIC). PIIC aims to address a missing element in the education and continual professional development arena while also promoting health equity within podiatry. It contains an image repository and an educational platform designed to assist clinicians in making correct and timely diagnoses in non-white populations.

With an ageing non-white population, particularly the Windrush Generation, entering retirement, we are witnessing an increased demographic of patients in various areas of the NHS that were not as prominent before. Podiatry is at the forefront of this surge in patient numbers, given that Black and Asian populations are three to five times more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease and diabetes. This amplified prevalence underscores the critical nature of podiatric care for these groups. Diabetic neuropathy can lead to ulceration, significantly reducing patients’ life expectancy. Microvascular issues observed in cardiovascular patients can ultimately result in amputation, greatly diminishing patients’ quality of life overnight and increasing mortality. Ensuring the best outcomes for these at-risk populations is essential for increasing life expectancy and ensuring health equity in care delivery, allowing patients to be diagnosed, treated, and referred correctly.

Endorsed by the Royal College of Podiatry, PIIC’s purpose is to create learning materials and maintain an index of categorised images of foot pathologies for use as an educational tool. Professionals of all levels will be able to use these resources in educational and CPD settings. The goal is for all clinicians to have knowledge of disease presentation signs on all skin types, enabling them to confidently diagnose effectively upon initial presentation. Ultimately, the aim is for all future educational, conference, teaching, and marketing information to showcase inclusive images of all skin types, and PIIC’s mission is to help make this possible.

Founded as an idea for my #150Leaders personal project, PIIC quickly gained wider recognition when I was invited to attend the Global Clinton Initiative University in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, in early 2023. Since then, the project has garnered support and funding from Accenture, Black Women Talk Tech, and the University of Southampton Entrepreneur and Incubator Department, and I hope the project continues to gain momentum.

PIIC aspires to play a crucial role in enhancing the educational landscape of podiatry and promoting health equity from the foot up. Learn more, support and sign up to our newsletter on our website.

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